Doubts still remain this morning regarding ‘UFC On Fuel TV 9’s’ main event between Alexander Gustafsson and Gegard Mousasi despite Dana White’s insistance that at this time the fight is still on.
As we reported last night, Gustafsson had suffered a cut to his eyebrow during training at the weekend, but according to the UFC president the Swedish light-heavyweight is still eager to compete.
“The [Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation] has not said he can’t fight, and he wants to fight,” White tells MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani.
However, just hours earlier Swedish site MMANytt reported that the SMMAF hold told them that it was 99% certain that Gustafsson wouldn’t be cleared to fight when he has a further doctor’s check-up on Friday.
The fact that the UFC are still clinging on to the small hope that the fight can go ahead suggests that they may not be able to arrange a suitable replacement with less than a week to go. It would always be challenging to find someone to fight Mousasi at this late stage, but given the fact that the event will be held in Sweden makes it even more of a logistical nightmare for them.
Frankly, if this was a PPV event then we would probably be staring down the barrel of a complete cancellation of the show due to the fact that the rest of the card isn’t strong enough on it’s own to survive this blow, but given that it’s going to air for free on Fuel TV it’ll probably still go ahead – though the Swedish fans who’ve bought tickets will surely feel short-changed.
Unfortunately these kind of late injury call-offs are always going to be a risk in this sport and while hinsidght is 20/20 I do think that the UFC could have been better prepared for the possibility of this happening if they had placed another light-heavyweight bout on the card, ensuring they’d have a replacement for either of the main card fighters.
Instead, despite having 12 additional bouts on the card there’s not a single 205lb match-up amongst them, and only bouts like Ross Pearson Vs Ryan Couture and Matt Mitrione Vs Phil De Fries remaining to serve as an underwhelming main event.
In the longer term I believe the best solution is to host less events and instead put on a smaller number of shows with a stronger cast of fighters involved in each.
The UFC seems determined not to go down that route however, and with four events schedule for April alone that means that issues like this are almost inevitable.